ISPs, lower your support costs with 5 easy steps

ISPs, lower your support costs with 5 easy steps

If your customers are unhappy, they will call you to complain, costing you significant time and money. Resolving issues can be expensive, especially if you need to call out an engineer. Customers’ frustration can lead to them taking their business elsewhere. In addition, a large proportion of your support calls relate to problems beyond your control, such as poor Wi-Fi, but demonstrating this to your customers using web and app-based speed tests is near impossible, and does little to lower your support costs.  

By working closely with some of the world’s leading service providers, we have overcome all of these hurdles, including measuring speeds of 1Gbps and greater, so that you can see exactly how your customers experience the internet. Here are five ways to do exactly that. 

1. Use SamKnows intelligence in every home

The SamKnows Router SDK allows you to measure your end-to-end network performance, and discount any interfering in-home factors. Delivered as a software package, you can integrate the Router SDK directly inside your Customer Premises Equipment (CPEs) to run our entire suite of tests and metrics across millions of customer homes. All your test results are available in SamKnows One, our cloud-based data platform, for in-depth analysis. Use the information to proactively identify faults, prove you meet the latest regulatory requirements, and offer advanced customer support while dramatically reducing your support costs.

This table provides a quick overview of how the Router SDK exceeds the measurement capability of web and mobile-app tests: 

* “Cross traffic” is the term we give to any network activity that goes to and from the internet, via the router, that’s not generated by SamKnows. Before running a performance test, the Router SDK checks for cross traffic to see how much of your bandwidth is available. When the level of cross traffic exceeds the cross-traffic threshold, whether before or during a performance test, then the test stops. Read our blog post for more information about why it's so important to eliminate cross traffic.

**  Many modern CPEs can measure 1Gbps in user space, but sometimes it is necessary to use hardware acceleration from the chipset to achieve this on older hardware. 

Now running in over 50 million CPEs, we’ve been embedding the Router SDK inside routers since 2015, with the number rising daily. The advanced test agent provides a wealth of benefits to significantly lower support costs, improve customer satisfaction, and attract new business. 

2. Clear customer confusion

Managing customers’ perception of your network performance can be challenging. Congested Wi-Fi bands, coupled with increasing broadband access speeds, can mean that your customers’ Wi-Fi network could be the cause of poor performance. However, your customers may not know this and hold you responsible. Consumers will often measure their performance using browser or smartphone measurement tools and while these are helpful, they are limited to including factors outside of your control or their knowledge.

Support teams can use the Router SDK to instantly activate the measurement capability on a customer’s router and run tests on a wide range of metrics from the router itself. Your support staff can then share the independent test results with your customers to demonstrate the quality of your service and clear confusion quickly. 

Taking this further, you can now integrate our SDKs directly inside your smartphone and web applications, so that your customers can trigger measurements from their CPE to the internet. That way, customers can see if the problem is within their home, and avoid calling your support teams. This can also lead to the sale of better Wi-Fi solutions, such as mesh Wi-Fi systems.

3. Save on engineer call outs

In addition to running on-demand tests with the Router SDK, you can also assign a test schedule that will run automated tests 24/7. By analysing the data in SamKnows One, your teams can find where the problem lies, the point at which performance declined, and focus their efforts on delivering the relevant solution without sending an engineer to the home. This functionality is also useful for trialling new products or monitoring an external event.

4. Proactively monitor your network

Modern broadband networks are complicated, with dozens of different vendors’ equipment, firmware, and an almost limitless number of paths that traffic takes. While you may have excellent visibility of individual parts of your network, it’s the interplay of all these components working together (as well as many that you can’t monitor such as third-party networks) that deliver your customers’ actual experience. Only end-to-end measurements from your customers’ homes to the internet can deliver this level of visibility. The Router SDK generates comparable datasets on dozens of metrics to give you all the information you need to identify faults and fix them before the support calls come rolling in.

5. Comply with regulations

As well as reducing support costs, the Router SDK is used by world-leading ISPs to prove they meet the latest regulations. ISPs are under increasing pressure from regulators to demonstrate their real end-to-end performance using minimum sample sizes. In some markets, regulators have introduced measurement targets that ISPs must achieve and many run nationwide studies of broadband performance. At SamKnows, we are the provider for such projects in the UK, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and more. These programmes often mandate that ISPs use hardware-based measurement tools for accuracy. The number can grow well into the thousands if ISPs have multiple products and speed tiers. For examples of these, read our earlier articles about Ofcom's Voluntary Code of Practice (VCOP) and the FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF) programme.

By deploying the Router SDK, you can avoid the cost of additional measurement hardware and use SamKnows One to track and prove your end-to-end performance. You can also use the independent data, trusted as the industry standard, to support marketing claims and increase your competition, attracting new business along the way. 

Get started

Set up is simple, with no new hardware or expensive home visits required. The Router SDK is delivered to your CPEs as part of a firmware update and installed without any user intervention. Once complete, the measurement software is ready for instant activation on a massive scale. 

Follow these three simple steps to deploy the SamKnows Router SDK on your fleet of home routers. 

A.

SamKnows or your CPE manufacturer integrates the Router SDK inside the CPE’s firmware. 

Our team is on-hand to perform the integration for you. This is ideal if your teams have limited experience integrating a third party’s SDK into CPE firmware, or if significant development is required. We always carry out a feasibility study before starting on the integration. Please read Option 1 in the technology section of our website for more information about what this entails. 

We have long-standing relationships with the world’s largest CPE manufacturers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that supply custom-made routers to ISPs, including DOCSIS (cable), DSL, and FTTH CPEs. 

If you or your CPE manufacturer would prefer to perform the integration, please read Option 2 in our technology section. This option is available if the integration is straightforward and both the your CPE manufacturer and internal teams are proficient in compiling and debugging C/C++ code. If this is your preferred route, we will send you our generic SDK, along with instructions that detail how it can be configured for different CPEs. 

B. 

You deploy the firmware as part of your normal CPE update procedure. 

C.

You can then activate the measurement capabilities for as many home routers with the embedded test agent as you like.  

For a more technical explanation of the integration process, please see here

A solution built for you

The SamKnows Router SDK offers many benefits, not least the ability to see your full end-to-end network performance, clear customer confusion, prevent performance downturns, save on expensive call-outs, and demonstrate you comply with regulations without paying for additional hardware.

Our sales team at SamKnows are experienced in providing bespoke measurement solutions that perfectly suit your needs. We would be delighted to discuss your requirements and demonstrate how we can help you. Please contact our sales team for more information.